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Best 5 Quick Christmas Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 23rd, 2013

Lemon Pasta with Roasted ShrimpWhether you find yourself hosting unexpected holiday guests or are suddenly tasked with bringing a dish to pass at a party, it’s a good idea to have in your recipe arsenal those crowd-pleasing dishes that look deliciously elaborate and taste just as impressive but are, in fact, a cinch to prepare. When last-minute get-togethers arise, reach for Food Network’s top-five quick recipes for Christmas, a collection of celebration-worthy classics from some of your favorite chefs, like Rachael, Robert and Ina. Perhaps best of all, these go-to picks can be on the table in less than 35 minutes.

5. Pork Tenderloin with Apple Cider Reduction — Pork and apples are two ingredients simply better together, and here they’re combined when a sweet and tangy maple syrup-apple cider vinegar sauce is spooned over juicy tenderloins.

4. Creamed Spinach — With a rich and creamy sauce subtly spiced with nutmeg, this traditional steakhouse side dish can be made easily at home with fresh spinach and will round out any entree.

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The Pioneer Woman’s Favorite Christmas Cookies — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 20th, 2013

The Pioneer Woman's Favorite Christmas CookiesWhen my sister and I were young, we had a standing Christmas- cookie-decoration date with a family friend. Eleanor’s kids were grown, but she loved mixing up several batches of dough (some colored red and green with food-safe dye), pulling out the cookie cutters, and helping us make and bake fancy tray after tray of cookies.

I looked forward to that afternoon in Eleanor’s kitchen every year. Even after I got too old for the annual cookie party, I thought about it fondly (and dreamed about her delicious, buttery cookies).

When December rolled around this year, I found myself craving the experience of making and decorating holiday sugar cookies. I used to have a copy of Eleanor’s recipe, but no matter how much I looked, I couldn’t put my hands on it. And so I went looking for options and found The Pioneer Woman’s Favorite Christmas Cookies.

It uses vegetable shortening in place of butter and adds a little bit of orange zest to the dough, but otherwise seems very close to the recipe I once knew. And truly, it’s a delightful dough to work with. It comes together quickly, rolls out beautifully and holds its shape nicely while baking. If you’re still in the midst of your holiday baking, stir together a batch of this dough and cut out some cookies for your Weekender!

Before you start baking, read these tips

Kid-Inspired Chocolate Sugar Cookies

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 18th, 2013

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Back in July when we hosted “take your kids to work day” in Food Network’s offices, our editors were already in planning mode for the holidays. For a fun activity with our group of 8- to 12-year-old visitors, we printed blown-up images of some of FoodNetwork.com’s top cookie recipes and asked the kids to vote for their favorites. Sugar cookies were the overall crowd favorite, but chocolatey cookies like Bobby’s Triple-Chocolate Cookies also ranked high for the kids. This prompted one young future food editor to comment: “You should have chocolate sugar cookies!” We loved the idea and promised we’d run with it.

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Best 5 Christmas Brunch Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 18th, 2013

Panettone Bread PuddingWhile Christmas dinner may be the centerpiece meal in most homes come next week’s holiday, brunch isn’t to be forgotten, as it’s often quicker and simpler to prepare than supper, even if you’re cooking for guests. This year, whether you’ll be hosting a crowd on Christmas morning or simply unwrapping presents with your family, enjoy a spread of sweet and savory brunch picks, like crispy peppered bacon, Alton’s golden-brown French toast and Ina’s indulgent bread pudding. Check out Food Network’s top-five Christmas brunch picks below to find these recipes and more to complete your holiday celebration.

5. Breakfast Casserole — Filled with all of your favorite breakfast components — bread, eggs, sausage, potatoes and gooey cheese — this big-batch casserole can be assembled the night before and baked when you’re ready to enjoy it on Christmas morning.

4. Maple-Pepper Bacon — No matter what else you’re serving at brunch, be sure to round out the meal with a batch of Food Network Magazine’s crispy bacon, baked instead of fried, with a sweet and savory topping of maple syrup and pepper.

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Refrigerator Biscuits Turn Into a Comforting Side Dish for Roast Pork

by in Recipes, Shows, December 17th, 2013

Pork TenderloinChopped Dinner ChallengeThe Chopped Dinner Challenge is a series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!

For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchens chose to feature the basket ingredient refrigerator biscuits, which most people would think couldn’t be reinvented. But, in fact, they can! With their Chopped thinking caps on, the chefs turned the average canned dough into sauteed puffs that resemble dumplings. All it takes is cubing up the dough and sauteing the cubes in butter. And to make it a great dinner, the biscuit puffs become the perfect side dish for Pork Tenderloin. Your family will be excited to see how canned biscuit dough gets a new life in this recipe.

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Weeknight Chili — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 16th, 2013

Weeknight Two-Bean ChiliWhile some dishes — like meatballs and burgers — struggle to keep their identities when you take away the meat, chilis, soups and stews hold up well without it. Chili is naturally beefy and rich. Most chilis, meatless or not, are traditionally made with beans, and in the case of vegetarian cooking, it’s that hefty protein that adds hearty substance to the meat-free dish.

Food Network Kitchens relies on kidney and black beans to be the base of this recipe for Weeknight Two-Bean Chili (pictured above), a fuss-free dinner that’s ready to eat in 30 quick minutes. Laced with jalapeno, onions and crushed tomatoes, this one-pan chili is given an added boost of flavor from bold chili powder and a pinch of Chinese five-spice, which Food Network Kitchens say “is a nice spice surprise.” If you don’t like kidney or black beans, just substitute two of your favorite varieties. Serve the chili atop rice to round out the meal, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese for a decadent finish.

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Chocolate Truffles — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 13th, 2013

Chocolate Truffles - The WeekenderNearly every year, I make at least half a dozen varieties of holiday cookies to share with friends, neighbors and relatives. I have a few standbys (sugar, gingerbread, chocolate crinkles) and a few wild card slots (this year, they are thumbprints, almond flour shortbread, and oat cookies with cranberries and pistachios).

In addition to those cookies, I also try to include one extra sweet in my holiday treat assortment. In the past I’ve made oven-roasted caramel corn, easy fudge with sweetened condensed milk and crunchy pepita toffee.

This year as I was scanning recipe websites, looking for that extra something sweet to put in my treat packages, I spotted Ina Garten’s recipe for Chocolate Truffles.

Before you start cooking, read these tips

Best 5 Christmas Appetizers

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 11th, 2013

Baked BrieSimilar to Thanksgiving, the Christmas supper is often a rich, hearty meal complete with beef, turkey, lamb or ham, among other sides and salads — not to mention dessert — which is why party starters tend to be simple and light fare. But while you don’t want your guests to fill up on appetizers, it’s best to offer a few pre-dinner munchies to satisfy their cravings when they walk in the door and to hold them over until the main dish is ready. Quick-fix snacks like dips and mini meatballs are go-to picks, as is crostini or cheese and crackers, since they don’t require forks and knives, and guests can grab them as they mingle. This holiday, stick with Food Network’s top-five appetizers below to ensure casual, stress-free get-togethers that let crowd-pleasing recipes shine.

5. French Onion Dip — The secret to Guy’s top-rated recipe is cooking the onions slowly over a low temperature so they have time to become sweet, soft and caramelized, which will add to the overall depth of flavor in his sour cream-based dip. Click the play button on the video after the jump to watch Guy make it.

4. Crostini with Thyme-Roasted Tomatoes — For an elegant appetizer presentation that’s deceptively simple to achieve, Chopped host Ted Allen slow-roasts slices of tomatoes until they’re tender, then features them atop garlic-rubbed toast.

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From the Sidelines to a Starring Role: Swiss Chard Makes a Main Dish

by in Recipes, Shows, December 10th, 2013

Swiss Chard LasagnaChopped Dinner ChallengeThe Chopped Dinner Challenge is a series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!

For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchens chose to feature the basket ingredient Swiss chard, which most people think of as a boring green relegated to side dishes. But that’s not the way Chopped competitors think! The key is making the basket ingredient shine and this recipe for Swiss Chard Lasagna does just that. It’s also a really creative way to get kids — or even adults — to eat their greens. Your family will be surprised by the wonderful flavors and cheesiness of this lasagna, and they won’t even miss the meat.

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Tofu-Stuffed Acorn Squash — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 9th, 2013

Tofu-Stuffed Acorn SquashThough squash often plays a starring role on Thanksgiving dinner tables — from soups and salads to mashes and mac and cheese — this family-friendly vegetable is a staple all winter long. Just like butternut and spaghetti squash, acorn squash is endlessly versatile: Feature it as a simple side to round out the meal, or let acorn squash take center stage on your dinner table as the main dish. The key to turning acorn squash — or any vegetable — into an entree is beefing it up a bit with hearty protein, like meat, tofu or eggs, plus complementary ingredients to add extra flavor.

In its recipe for Tofu-Stuffed Acorn Squash (pictured above), Food Network Magazine puts a spin on classic stuffed peppers by using squash as the vessel of choice and tofu instead of ground meat as the filling. Since tofu can be plain on its own, it’s important to cook it with bold ingredients so it adopts those tastes and becomes full-flavored. Here Food Network Magazine sautes tofu with olive oil, garlic and onions, then adds juicy cherry tomatoes and baby spinach to create a fresh mixture. Parmesan cheese and lemon juice add balancing richness and a refreshing flavor to the combination, which is served inside a tender roasted acorn squash with a simple pita-spinach salad on the side.

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